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Breeders Crown's Sister Act

Published: October 19, 2016 5:17 pm ET

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Ariana G and All The Time have taken different paths to this weekend’s Breeders Crown eliminations at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Marvin Katz, who with Al Libfeld bred and owns both filly trotters, is simply grateful for the opportunity to see the sisters in action together again.

The last time All The Time and Ariana G shared the stage at the Meadowlands was Aug. 6 when All The Time won the Hambletonian Oaks for three-year-old female trotters and Ariana G won the Jim Doherty Memorial for two-year-old female trotters. A day later, All The Time was found suffering from colic and taken for intestinal surgery that sidelined her for nearly two months.

All The Time has prepared for her return by winning two qualifiers, the first in 1:52.1 at Lexington’s Red Mile on Oct. 4 and more recently in 1:55.1 at the Meadowlands on Oct. 11. On Saturday, she races in the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations for three-year-old filly trotters. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the $500,000 championship on Oct. 29 at the Big M.

On Friday, Ariana G -- the winner of eight of nine starts this season -- competes in the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old filly trotters. The top five finishers from each division advance to the $600,000 final, also set for Oct. 29 at the Meadowlands.

If both fillies win their respective Breeders Crown finals, it would mark the first time in the history of the series that full siblings claim trophies in the same year. The only other occurrence of siblings winning Crowns together came in 2011 when half-brothers Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet accomplished the feat.

“I’m very excited to have both of them racing,” Katz said. “I think it’s an extraordinarily rare thing to have two fillies like this at the same time competing in the Breeders Crown and be top contenders. I’m particularly happy to see All The Time back on the track. She’s such a great, great filly. Hopefully it will have a storybook ending. That would just be over the top.”

Ariana G and All The Time, both trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, are daughters of stallion Muscle Hill, a two-time Breeders Crown winner and the 2009 Horse of the Year, out of the stakes-winning mare Cantab It All.

All The Time has won 11 of 19 career races, including four of seven this season without finishing worse than second. She won the 2015 Breeders Crown for two-year-old filly trotters and became the first horse to come back the following year and win the Hambletonian Oaks since Passionate Glide in 2006.

“Obviously, I’d rather she raced the season and gone a more traditional path (to this year’s Breeders Crown), but she’s been prepared as best as she can,” Katz said about All The Time, who has earned $827,616 lifetime. “She was brilliant in Lexington in her qualifier. Jimmy Takter, who drove her, told me that she gave him goose bumps. She was just that fabulous.

“Considering what she’s had to deal with, what a magnificent filly. She’s tough as nails with a great desire to race and win. They just don’t make them like that. Hopefully she’ll give a good account of herself.”

Ariana G, who has earned $438,967 this season, heads to her Breeders Crown elimination off a career-best 1:51.4 win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 7 at Lexington’s Red Mile. That time is the fourth fastest in history for a two-year-old trotter (of any age) and her average margin of victory in her eight wins is 3-1/2 lengths. Her only setback came when she went off stride at the start of a race at Hoosier Park.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute with her and was impressed with her from her first start,” Katz said. “She won a (preliminary leg of the) New Jersey Sire Stakes in a tsunami. I couldn’t believe a two-year-old filly could do that; that she had the mental acuity to behave in that type of adverse weather conditions and look tremendous on the track. She’s an extraordinary filly. She’s über-talented. They don’t come like this very often.”

The Canadian-based Libfeld and Katz have been breeding horses for more than two decades and now have a highly regarded band of more than 50 broodmares. The Libfeld/Katz breeding partnership, which focuses on trotters, received Canada’s Armstrong Breeder of the Year Award in 2015.

“To be the breeders (of All The Time and Ariana G), for them to come out of our program, it’s just an extraordinary accomplishment to get them this far,” Katz said. “It speaks to the quality of people we have helping us, and the quality of horses we’re now producing.”

Friday’s card at the Meadowlands, which begins at 7:15 p.m., also includes two eliminations for the Breeders Crown Mare Pace. Eliminations for the remaining two- and three-year-old trotters and pacers will be Saturday.

Eliminations are unnecessary for the Breeders Crown Open Pace, Open Trot and Mare Trot, so those horses advance directly to their respective finals.

Breeders Crown finals for older pacers and trotters will be held Oct. 28 at the Meadowlands and the championships for two- and three-year-old pacers and trotters will follow on Oct. 29.

Post positions for the Open finals will be drawn live Friday and posts for the two- and three-year-old finals will be drawn Saturday. Elimination winners draw for inside posts one through five for the finals.

To view entries for the Breeders Crown elim cards, click on one of the following links: Meadowlands' Friday Entries -- Meadowlands' Saturday Entries


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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